Many of us have Presidents Day off. A good time to ski, sled, or BBQ (as it’s been about 65 degrees in the mid-Atlantic). Many of us will be driving home from a weekend get-away so here’s some recommended listening.

NPR Politics Podcast

NPR Politics Podcast is a great podcast by NPR’s politics reporters – Mara Liasson, Ron Elving, Brian Naylor – who get together and analyze weekly goings on. Suffice it to say they have PLENTY to discuss these days. Toward the end of the week, there’s also we weekly around up – for those weeks you can’t keep up with the fire hose… Loren (hubs) loves it because it’s people who know a shitload talking about politics (my words, not his; he doesn’t swear).

Pod Save America

According to the Pod website:

This is a political podcast for people not yet ready to give up or go insane hosted by Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor.

These bros (and they are DEFINITELY bros) worked in the Obama White House, as speechwriters or as a spokesperson. They review the crazy political news a couple of times each week, bring on great guests (like Emily Yoffe of The Atlantic) and are pretty funny to listen to. Did I mention they’re bros?

On the Media

This is a terrific podcast, out of WNYC. It generally covers the media, but this encompasses everything from poverty to border control to protesters’ rights. Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield have been at this for a while and provide excellent, in-depth coverage each week.

Good Muslim Bad Muslim

A podcast by Taz Ahmed and Zahra Noorbakhsh, #GoodMuslimBadMuslim discussed the life and times of being Muslim – and female – in a post 9/11 United States. Through comedy, insightful dialog, and wit, they discuss pressing issues in a monthly podcast format.

In addition to podcasts that will be politically/culturally illuminating, here are a few of my favorite individual shows. 

It’s impossible to discuss podcasts without mentioning This American Life. Arguably the mother of ALL podcasts, TAL is insanely good always. You should listen to their weekly shows. In the event you don’t have a 12 hour drive ahead of you, these are particularly recommended in today’s political climate.

  • Episode 609, It’s All Working Out Very Nicely, is a heart-breaking story of what happened to the refugees who had NOT yet left their home countries.  You hear the story of a visa holder who just barely makes it into the US (to be with his wife – another refugee and former English interpreter in Iraq). The much tougher story to hear is that of Somali refugees… stuck. Who likely will be indefinitely.
  • The first podcast after Trump’s inauguration, The Revolution Starts at Noon (#608) discusses how we got here and what Democrats are likely to face. I found the first segment on the DeploraBall especially hard to listen to — but also very enlightening. Bottom line for me — Trump’s backers didn’t and WON’T play fair.
  • Finally, Didn’t We Solve This One (#607) discusses the promise and incredible problems with the visa program for Iraqi interpreters. Be prepared to get mad, folks.

pizzagateLastly, I’ll recommend one show from Reply All (one of my fave newer podcasts). PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman are excellent hosts and discuss Internet-related stuff, which is basically anything in the world. The show I recommend is Voyage Into Pizzagate. Again, it’s infuriating and mind-boggling. How could people ever make shit up about a pizza place in DC having a child sex ring in its basement. (Remember — this went real-world crazy when a guy from NC drove up and brandished a weapon in the store…) It’s super troubling, but also insightful into how the crazier parts of the Internet (especially Reddit) work.

So let’s use our #FiveMinutes each week to become more informed. In the car, on a jog, or (Loren’s personal favorite) doing dishes — we can all find time to listen when we’re not doing anything else. So listen to these amazing stories. Be mad. Then, act.